Our first stop along the road to the Gobi Desert was about 3 or 4 hours into our drive. We stopped at a roadside ger “restaurant” that served passing motorists. I think that we may have been the only customers of the day as the woman of the home had to cut fresh meat for our meal.
This was my first time in a ger house and I was very excited to see inside. I had often seen the ger houses on travel shows and was always intrigued at how a felt sided home could offer such warmth and comfort. I was not disappointed, the house (cafe) was indeed warm and comfortable. The roof of the home is supported by a circular wooden ring that is mounted atop wooden poles. Concentric wooden beams rest atop the walls and the center ring and provide support for the felt ceiling. In the center of the wooden center roof ring this family had installed glass panes to take advantage of the natural solar lighting and the chimney from the stove carried the exhaust from the cooking outside of the ger. The solar panel outside provided electricity for the television and DVD player, Nintendo games, and also recharged 12 volt car batteries for nighttime lighting.
As soon as we landed in our chairs we were served hot chai (tea) mixed with goat milk. Now long accustomed to this local refreshment I eagerly drank my fill. The chai was hot and helped warm my insides after the cold air from outside the ger. Simya poured some chai tea for us while Solyoloo caught up our hosts with the latest news and gossip. Travelers are not common this time of year and they appreciated the chance to talk to someone outside of the extended family. I sipped my tea and watched the children as they played eagerly waiting for our lunch to be finished cooking.
The three children are the grandchildren of the woman and man who were taking care of us during out lunch visit. We were told that the children’s parents were at the nearby village where they worked in outside jobs. It took me a look or two before I realized that the little girls were twins. The little boy did his studies and then was allowed to watch the solar-powered television.
After a while our meal was ready and I was eager to try the Mongolian cuisine from this road cafe. The meal was noodles with goat meat and some vegetables. It was perhaps one of the better meals I had on this trip and I heartily ate everything that was served to me. After we finished eating we boarded our Pajero and continued south into the Gobi Desert.
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